Share this

Feb 27, 2010

History curriculum

I was up in arms recently about planned changes to the high school history curriculum which would emphasize Chinese history over Taiwan's, and possibly subsume Taiwan history into Chinese history.

These are long standing issues where there is plenty of good faith disagreement, even among those who are for Taiwan's continued independence. Remember that for a long time, Taiwan has never really been taught history in a Taiwan-centric way. It's been either Japan-centric or China-centric, and only in the very last years of the DPP administration did things start to swing the other way.

I was originally alerted to the upcoming changes by Weichen's post here. Taipei Times covers the issue and some of the protests to it, and describes the two proposals being considered:

Chou, who is on the task force making changes to the high school curriculum, said NTU philosophy professor Wang Hsiao-po (王曉波) and some other task force members had proposed that students spend two semesters learning Chinese history and just one semester studying world history.

On Nov. 15, the task force voted in favor of a proposal by Chou and others to allot one-and-a-half semesters each to Chinese and world history, but task force convener Wu Wen-hsing (吳文星), a history professor at National Taiwan Normal University, resolved to put Wang’s amended proposal up for further deliberation after task force’s term expired on Dec. 31.
For sake of simplicity, here is a chart (translated from Weichen's table) to break down the two proposals in a bit more depth. Please note this is written somewhat from Chou's perspective, and some of the characterizations seem rough; you'd obviously want to see what textbooks came out of the guidelines before deciding how reasonable Chou's proposal is, even if Wang's proposal is wack. And I'm not sure exactly about the last two things in the table, as the descriptions are a bit vague and confusing to me.

Wang's Proposal
Chou's Proposal
Taiwan:China:World History ratio
1: 2: 11: 1.5 : 1.5
Earliest included Taiwan-related historical recordsEastern Wu (~250 CE) and Sui Dyansties (~600 AD)
400 years ago
Japanese Occupation
Emphasizes Japan as colonizers, fact of second-class citizens.
Discuss both modernization and colonization issues
Taiwan in WW II
Place special emphasis on Taiwanese efforts to reunite with China and oppose Japan
No particular details especially emphasized
Post-WW II Taiwan
Describe international relations in such a way as to avoid picking apart the ROC sovereignty (over all of China) argument.
Describe international relations according to the historical record
Post-WW II Taiwan culture
Topics include: Re-Sinization, Taiwan's development of unique features and internationalization
Topics include: Sinization, localization and globalization
Chinese History
China-centric world view
Looks at China's neighbors and the world from the perspective of cultural exchange
Post-war Chinese history
The splitting of One China, discusses both Taiwan and Taiwan
Covers the People's Republic of China [and not Taiwan]
World History
Takes the nation-state and representative events [?] as the main units
Emphasizes a macro-view of schools of thought and frameworks


Feb 25, 2010

This time, a blast from the back to the future

Taipei Times:

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday morning thanked the outgoing Solomon Islands ambassador at the Presidential Office, but referred to his administration as the “Chunghua government” (中華政府) or “Chinese government....”

Realizing his mistake, Ma immediately corrected himself and said he meant the “government of the Republic of China.”
I'm no native speaker, but I'd argue that the Chinese term used here seems really bizarre and forced. “Chunghua government” (中華政府) is not *quite* a coinage, as the phrase appears when searched for online, mostly in relation to some sort of Taiwan military surplus dealer which uses the phrase in their name (though I'd argue the deep structure is different for their title).

So although the phrase isn't entirely invented, it does not roll off the tongue. Frankly, "Chinese government (中國政府) would be not only smoother but probably preferable to this bizarre formation that is riding on the back of Zhunghua Minzu. And there's no reason the good old "Taiwan government" (臺灣政府) should have been avoided here.

However, I'll give Ma the benefit of the doubt and assume this was a misspeak leaving out two words (should have been 中華民國政府), not an attempt to start using new terminology.

Feb 21, 2010

Yea for Ron Paul!

Good job winning the CPAC straw poll . Too bad it means next to nothing. :(

Feb 19, 2010

So, if you run a plane into a building because nobody likes paying taxes, obviously, that's a sign of the frustration that gets Republicans elected to office.

But of course, if you run a plane into a building because you are a jihadist, well, time to strip *every* citizen of basic constitutional rights, and time to strip every non-citizen of basic human rights guaranteed by treaty and common decency.

Feb 17, 2010

Chinese President Hu Jintao's pre-Lunar New Year address to Taiwanese businessmen in China was mostly boilerplate material; no surprises in the speech. However, when reading the speech I was struck by one particular phrase:

...把堅持大陸和台灣同屬一個中國作為推動兩岸關係和平發展的政治基礎... make "insistence that Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of One China" the political foundation for promoting peaceful cross strait development...
Now of course this is nothing new, but what struck me is that for all the KMT's promotion of a constitutional or legal "One China," I don't believe any KMT official has actually used the term "Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of One China." Naturally, the KMT does accept that position (with a different wording preference), or there would be no basis for negotiations at this time.

In fact, I appear to be right about KMT non-use of the phrase. A quick search of the KMT website and other news articles shows that the phrase "同屬一個中國" makes appearances, but always in reference to the "mainland" Chinese position. In fact, President Ma prefers emphasizing that Taiwan and Chinese people "are both part of the Zhonghua Minzu," but does not overtly say they belong to the same "One China."

Here is another example where the DPP rhetoric would be more effective at driving home the KMT's one China policy. If the DPP made sure to mention all the time that "The KMT accepts Taiwan and China are the same country," I think it would strike a bit more of a chord than talking about the ROC legitimacy or theoretical, upcoming "sell outs."

And it would leave the KMT in a rhetorical pickle, as they cannot deny that position but equally, cannot promote it domestically. If you frame the language of the debate in the CCP terms, the KMT can only lose ground.

Feb 16, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!

As you know, politicians take holidays too, so enjoy your time off!

Feb 13, 2010

Taiwan Beer in China

Taiwan beer production base to be set up in China

May I be the first to say that this plan will be a financial disaster for Taiwan Beer. The Chinese beer market is saturated with low cost producers, and the consumers concerned about quality or "image" are going to go for more international beers, ales or dark lagers. Taiwan Beer stands no chance of making any money with this investment.

And this is coming from someone who drank Taiwan Beer almost exclusively for a very long time.

Export your beer in the US beyond California, dumbasses. Better investment than this stupid plant that's apparently being built in a wave of China fever.

How do you follow me?

How do you follow this blog? A

s far as I can tell, there are quite a few of you using RSS readers (if you don't have one yet, get one fast; it will change how you interact with the internet). But I still gets lots of hits from people who have searched for the blog title or my pen name via google. Repeat visitors. Obviously, they're making the daily effort to come to me. Also plenty of people come directly via book marks. And my fair share are still coming from sites that link to me.

If you feel like it, let me know how you follow the blog!

P.S. Su Chi is gone; yea!

Feb 6, 2010

Ma and 228

Historian Hwang Chang-chien (黃彰健) passed away not too many months ago. You can view his Who's who page at Taiwan News here.

In the later part of his career, Hwang turned his attention to the 228 incident in Taiwan. The results of his research were not exactly pretty nor what I would call reasonable. His research culminated in the publishing of A Draft of Textual Research into the Truth of the 228 Incident (二二八事件真相考證稿). Hwang's research concluded that only 673 people were killed and that foreigners such as George Kerr incited the incident.

President Ma Ying-jeou praised Hwang's research recently. Weichen's most recent post on this topic points out just how twisted Ma Ying-jeou's understanding of 228 must be if he thinks Hwang's research is definitive.

Feb 2, 2010

On the level

Last night, Taiwan's MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) argued that China would not be able to tolerate an ECFA with Taiwan when any pro-Taiwan independence party was in power. In Liu's own words, "The ECFA is a political and economic asset that the KMT has fought to give the Taiwan people. How could we let a pro-Taiwanese Independence party plunder or ruin it?"

The DPP has long complained that the ECFA agreement is meant to bind Taiwan to "One China" both politically and economically. The CCP, likewise, made it obvious that political unification was the ultimate objective.

But only recently a KMT official acknowledge the "logic" of the CCP argument and demonstrate how the ECFA exacts a political cost designed to keep the DPP either out of power or in line with CCP unification demands.

Expect "clarifications" and denials of political pre-requisites for the ECFA agreement.